Expert Advice

I have bad pollen allergies in the spring. What can I do to alleviate them?

The nicer weather and blooming flowers that come along with spring may put you in the mood to spend more time outside. But if you’re one of the 35 million Americans who suffer from pollen-related allergies, you may beg to differ. However, just because you have allergies doesn’t mean you are doomed to suffer this season. There are measures you can take to lessen your symptoms.

If you enjoy spending time outside, limit your time there, particularly when pollen counts are high. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the early morning and on windy days. You can also find out the official pollen count for your area by visiting a website that provides that information, such as

If you can avoid going outside on high pollen count days, there are also steps you can take in your own home to prevent pollen from affecting you. Of course, keeping your windows closed with a tight seal is important, and you can also look to add insulation for the cracks under your doors to keep air out. (This will also keep you warmer in the winter.) In addition, if you have the option, use air conditioning rather than a fan, which can draw in outside air. And using a high-energy particulate air (HEPA) filter when you vacuum will remove pollen from your home.

One of the most common ways to treat allergies is through medication. Whether you take over-the-counter or prescription medication for your allergies, consider starting to take them a week or two before your allergies usually begin. This will ensure the medication is in your system when your allergies kick in. You also may be a candidate for an allergy shot, which you should discuss with your doctor or allergist.

If you have any concerns about any allergy medication, talk with your doctor before taking it.